How good is Washington's small-business climate?
Alex Sutherland / The Chronicle Azad Patel and his wife, Geeta, own and operate Relax Inn in Chehalis. They were awarded the Spirit of Chehalis award for the month of October.

Azad and Geeta Patel, owners of the Relax Inn, were presented with the Chehalis Community Spirit Award Tuesday by Mayor Bob Spahr.

"You go above and beyond to make your business better," said Spahr. pointing out the hanging plants and flowers on the property. "I wish I had half the green thumb you do."

"A look shows they're dedication to improving their facility," said Todd Christensen, executive director of the Centralia-Chehalis Chamber of Commerce.

The Patels moved to the U.S. from India in 1980. In 1984, they purchased a hotel in Portland (which they later sold) and in 1995, purchased the 29-room Relax Inn near Interstate 5 exit 76. Since acquiring the hotel, they've invested in a new roof, windows, doors, carpet and lobby.

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